This year, ANGA COM 2014 will be held from May 20 – 22 in Cologne, Germany. Broadband TV News talked to Dr. Peter Charissé, managing director ANGA COM, about the event en current issues in the German cable and broadband world.
– Which are the highlights of this year’s conference programme at ANGA COM?
The key word is connected and personalized content delivery. For the first time, all technology panels will be held in English. This means that our congress programme becomes even more attractive for international visitors. It includes latest high level topics like RDK and CCAP. Nonetheless, we’ve still kept the price for the 3-day ticket “congress technology panels” at a reasonable 100 Euro. The highlight of our strategy track is the opening discussion with Liberty Global’s Mike Fries, Deutsche Telekom, and Vodafone.
– Is there any news about the exhibition or conference that you can share with us?
A completely new feature is our “Speakers’ Corner” situated in the exhibition hall. All exhibition visitors can attend the events held at this practice forum at no extra charge. In addition to our regular congress agenda it’s a platform where exhibitors can introduce their new products, projects and solutions with a short presentation or live showcase.
– Broadband access is becoming ever more important for German consumers – what is the current situation with regards to broadband cable?
Currently, we win approximately 700,000 new broadband customers for cable Internet per year. That’s a splendid development and we obviously wouldn’t mind to see this continued for a few more years.
– new ways of watching television is becoming more popular – there is video-on-demand, second screen, over-the-top – how does cable react?
Our network operators currently focus on expanding their own media offers. This includes, for instance, multiscreen, media libraries, IPTV, and TV Everywhere. It is no coincidence that all of these subject areas also rank high on our congress agenda.
– Vodafone has acquired Kabel Deutschland and before that Liberty Global integrated Unitymedia and Kabel BW – does this impact the cable inudstry and can we expect more consolidation?
Firstly, the Vodafone acquisition of Kabel Deutschland is impressive evidence of the German cable operators’ success story in the recent years. Apparently, there is a growing recognition throughout the entire broadband industry that our hybrid fibre cable technology is the most efficient access technology. As to the market structure: In Germany, we have a diversity of providers – large and mid-size as well as local network operators. In my judgement most of these companies are well positioned in terms of operation and finances. Therefore I think there is less pressure to consolidate compared to what may have been the case in previous years.
– are there any political issues at the moment regarding the cable industry?
The distribution of value-added between network operators and content providers will remain a core issue. Increasingly, this also applies to the online world. In this, we need stronger political tailwind: Especially in times when there is so much discussion about nationwide broadband coverage, investing in networks need to be rewarded and not punished with constantly new requirements and dues. This applies to the regulations for telecommunications and media as well as to copyright law.
– what is the status of the access fee that ARD and ZDF now refuse to pay to cable operators?
The issue is still pending before the courts. Regrettably, cable companies have not yet succeeded with their “must carry = must pay” reasoning in the proceedings to date. We assume that it will take the last instance to decide on the fundamental issue. This may take another year or two. As an association we are also working towards a clear-cut regulation of this issue in the media laws. This is expressly permitted by EU law and overdue.